New Essays on Walden
New Essays on Walden reviews Thoreau's classic from four important contemporary perspectives. Lawrence Buell explains how decisions by Thoreau's publisher combined with promotion of Thoreau by early Thoreauvians, literary critics and reviewers turned Walden into a classic. Nature writer and ecologist Anne LaBastille writes of her own responses to Walden. H. Daniel Peck examines how the pastoralism of Walden serves to contain not only the forces of industrialism and commerce in American society but also psychic forces in Thoreau's inner life. Finally Michael Fischer re-evaluates Walden in the light of modern literary theory, finding that Thoreau's forthrightness in presenting and analyzing his own politics disarms his skeptical critics. In introducing these new essays, Robert F. Sayre provides a masterful short biography of Thoreau, an account of the writing of Walden, and a summary of other critical views.